Macon leaders remember life and legacy of Clayton Ramsey

Clayton Ramsey receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2012.
Clayton Ramsey receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2012.

Brittney Raby – Staff Writer

The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Clayton Ramsey, who held all official positions within the Franklin Rotary Club during his life, lived each day with the intent of serving others.  Ramsey passed away last Thursday, but the everlasting impact he has had on Macon County will not be forgotten.

“Clayton Ramsey was the kind of person we all want to be – a leader in the community out front and behind the scenes, a man  dedicated to family and friends, an outspoken stalwart, perhaps unreasonably stubborn at times, defender of his politics, his county and his country, and a critical but polite listener to other opinions,” said Gary Dills, District Governor-elect of Rotary. “But most of all, he loved living life, constantly  filled with laughter and a bit of mischief. He made an unknowable impact on many lives in the course of his 90 years, including mine.  I am proud to have been his student and friend.”

Ramsey was born on his family farm in the Iotla Valley on May 20, 1926. Ramsey dedicated his life to public service by embarking on a 34-year career as an educator in Macon County. During his career, Ramsey served as a teacher at Franklin High School, a principal at Iotla Elementary School, and served as assistant superintendent of Macon County Schools. Ramsey was also instrumental in designing Macon Middle School and served as the school’s founding principal.

“The Macon County School system is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Ramsey,” said Macon County Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin. “In addition to being a long time educator in our schools, he was a mentor to many and a tremendous advocate for public education. He will truly be missed.”

Recognizing Ramsey’s unparalleled impact on not just Macon County, but the entire state, in 2012 Ramsey was presented with North Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. As owner and operator of Brawcroft Farm in Iotla, Ramsey worked to shape the future of agriculture in Macon County. He was both a founding member and first treasurer of the Macon County Fruit and Vegetable Coop and was also a founding member of the Macon County Horse Association. He served the community as a member of the Junaluskee Masonic Lodge, a leader for the Boy Scouts, Methodist Youth Fellowship, Interact Club, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Macon Program for Progress.

“Mr Ramsey leaves a legacy in Macon County that will be remembered for many years to come,” said Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale. “Not only was he a wonderful teacher but a great advocate for the importance of a good education and worked tirelessly even after his retirement to make sure the children of our community had an equal opportunity to get the best education possible. When it came to quality of character and love for his fellow man and community we should all strive to follow the example set by Mr. Clayton Ramsey. He will be sorely missed.”